8 African-Americans to Receive Awards Residents Named Achiever Honorees

Article excerpt

A businesswoman and victims advocate are among eight Jacksonville residents named as this year's African-American Achiever Honorees.

The awards are presented by JM Family Enterprises, which imports and distributes Toyotas in the Southeast through the Jacksonville port. JM FamilyEnterprises recognizes local leaders' accomplishments to make the community a better place.

The honorees will receive their awards at the fifth annual African-American Achievers dinner next month.

One honoree is Mary Blake-Holley, division chief of Jacksonville's Victim Services Center, which helped 17,000 crime victims in 1998 through outreach and youth programs.

"I am so excited because I was nominated by my staff and that is always such a humbling experience," she said. "To have been selected for this award and be among this group is even more than I ever expected."

Another honoree is Dee Thomas, founder of Thomas Transcription Service. She built the company after her husband died 19 years ago. She also is a founding member of Sisters in Business, a support group for African-American women business owners.

"I was especially pleased since this is the first year they have recognized entrepreneurs," Thomas said.

Nominations were sought throughout Jacksonville last year. A panel of African-American community leaders selected this year's recipients.

The African-American Achievers dinner will be at 5:45 p.m. March 8 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. For reservations, call (904) 443-6614 by Friday.

THE HONOREES

Here are the eight Jacksonville area residents named JM Family Enterprises' African-American Achiever honorees, in their respective categories:

THE ARTS -- Carol J. Alexander, executive director of the LaVilla Cultural and Heritage Association, which promotes and preserves Jacksonville's African-American culture. …

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